The property developer behind a proposed Tableland wind farm has banned residents living at a nearby rural estate from speaking out about the controversial project.
Developer Port Bajool Pty Ltd has placed a clause in its contracts for sale for properties at Oaky Creek Farms, stating there be no objection to the proposed $380 million Mt Emerald Wind Farm.
The State Government has called in the application for the development from the Mareeba Shire Council and is expected to decide if it will proceed by the end of the year.
Port Bajool and Ratch Australia are hoping to start construction on the project, near Mareeba, in early 2015.
The proposal, a joint venture between Port Bajool and energy company Ratch Australia, includes up to 75 turbines to potentially generate enough electricity to power 75,000 homes each year.
A survey of residents living within a 5km radius of the proposed development site, however, showed about 90 per cent objected, mainly out of concern about noise pollution.
Port Bajool’s contract states the vendor had disclosed certain feasibility studies and that a development application would be made for the construction of wind turbines on a nearby property.
It then states “the purchaser must not object to any application or procedure made or initiated by or on behalf of the vendor or a third party in respect of any use or development of Lot 7 SP235244”.
“The purchaser acknowledges that the purchaser will not be materially prejudiced by the development or use of Lot 7 SP235244 as a ‘wind farm’ for the generation of electrical power,’’ it reads.
Port Bajool director John Morris said despite the wind farm being “a very newsworthy subject” across the Tablelands, the clause merely ensured buyers were fully aware of the proposed wind farm prior to purchasing property.
“It’s not a gag order, because before they sign the contract, they’re saying they won’t object to it,’’ he said.
An Oaky Creek resident, who did not want to be named, said when they purchased the property several years ago, the seller understated the size of the proposed wind farm.
They said they regretted signing the contract without carrying out in-depth research on the development, which they now strongly opposed out of concern about the noise.
“Reading the gag clause, you think they’re obviously not serious and it’s just a proposal, it’s probably never going to happen,’’ the resident said.
“When you did talk to the people selling the property, they say it’s nothing really and it’s probably not going to go ahead.”
Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth, who has been critical of the project since it was announced about four years ago, said the clause was evidence the developers would do anything to ensure the project went ahead.
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